Mark Greene – two poems

Breakfast in the West

Sunday morning, drinking tea as we sat
on the sofa watching the latest footage from Aleppo:
a hospital hit by a barrel bomb; a child, with skin
turned obsidian, rescued from the rubble. You asked

if there was a reason for the hospital being destroyed.
I struggled to answer. I tried to explain, as the bacon
began to spit in the pan, that sometimes
rockets and bombs don’t always land where they should.

What did we know of the world?

At the table we listened to Classic FM – a symphony
by Shostakovich – whilst eating bacon on toast
with brown sauce. And after we finished
we returned to the sofa and the TV remote.

But the news from Aleppo was over, replaced by the weather
and the promise of sun. You then gave a smile,
which seemed to fly through the day like a bird,
and said we wouldn’t have to take our coats to the park.

What did we know of the world?

Mosquito (noun):
a small flying insect
that bites people and animals
and sucks their blood.
(Cambridge English Dictionary)

Or in the case of a torrid Skiathos night,
when even the tramping dogs find their mouths too parched to bark,
a mosquito bite is the cause for finding Franz Kafka
sitting at the end of the bed, chiselling
his glistening teeth into fangs.

And a mosquito bite,
like the memory of the thing you loved but still destroyed,
leaves an itch buried deep below the skin’s surface,
and a yearning to burn the flesh
until pain is quelled by pain.

And even the scars from scratching fade differently
to those of the surgeon’s knife
or the street’s broken glass.

But it’s important that nature allows its artwork to endure,
because the mosquito itself, having taken its fill of blood,
will be too satiated to care.

Mark Greene is a poet, short-story writer and novelist. He was born on the Wirral but now works and lives in Sheffield. Mark has previously been published in Now Then, Platform for Prose, STORGY, The Cadaverine and Ink. magazine.